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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

Bread: Staff of Life... or Silent Killer?

Contributing: C1 Staff

Whether preventing future illness, fighting a life-threatening disease, or just trying to feel better in general, your efforts are in vain without smart lifestyle decisions, environmental awareness, and functional lab testing. You may not be experiencing obvious symptoms, but health problems rarely arise overnight. Most are the result of imbalances in the body that have developed over many years. With the information provided by C1, you will be better prepared to make important decisions that will impact your health now and in the future.

 

Gluten intolerance
Bread and grains—foods that have been the mainstay of the American diet for generations—may in fact cause a wide variety of undiagnosed, chronic health problems. Although dietary fiber found in these foods is a necessary part of any healthy diet, many contain the "gluten" protein, a substance that may be toxic to your body. According to studies conducted by the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, nearly two million people in the United States are known to react to gluten. This statistic leads doctors to believe that up to 60% of Americans—especially those of northern European descent—are genetically predisposed to a condition known as "gluten intolerance."

Unlike many other health concerns, you could be gluten intolerant and not know it until long after the damage has been done. To further complicate matters, symptoms that do occur, including diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, and weakness, may be confused with many other conditions. This leaves gluten—the real culprit—either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. During childhood, symptoms often include allergies, asthma, upset stomach, and milk intolerance; in many cases, these early symptoms disappear and then reappear between the ages of thirty and sixty. Only a technical assessment of your health can confirm or deny gluten intolerance.

How gluten affects the body
Gluten intolerant individuals have genes that recognize gluten as a toxic substance. When they consume foods containing gluten, their bodies set in motion a chain reaction that begins as an inflammation in the lining of the small intestine. The inflamed intestinal wall must now fight off the foreign invader and try to repair any damage before it can properly digest and absorb nutrients.

This reaction, which can go undiagnosed for decades, prevents healthy digestion of protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, and places an enormous strain on the immune system. As long as the destruction is allowed to continue, the body becomes increasingly susceptible to a wide range of bacteriological and parasitic infections, viruses, fungi, yeast, and food intolerance. For the gluten-intolerant person, eating gluten opens the door to chronic illness and degenerative diseases, such as cancer and osteoporosis. If the body cannot properly take in nutrients, it will suffer.

Gluten-containing Foods

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Couscous
  • Kamut
  • Oats
  • Orzo
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat

Living with gluten intolerance

Although the typical American diet is filled with gluten-containing foods, people who have testing positive for gluten intolerance must totally avoid foods containing gluten. In recent years, a renewed enthusiasm for whole grains and dietary fiber has led to increased consumption of breads and other foods containing gluten; likewise, junk food junkies indulging in high carbohydrate snacks and fast food put themselves at a yet greater risk of illness. Fortunately, an increasing amount of gluten-free breads, pastas, crackers, pancake mixes, cereals, and snack foods are becoming available as tasty alternatives.

Caution should be taken when purchasing many other food products since gluten is often used as filler, but is not included among the ingredients listed on the labels. This chart shows the most common foods that one must avoid if gluten intolerant.

Are you gluten intolerant?

Determining whether you are gluten intolerant is a simple procedure that requires only the laboratory findings of a single saliva sample. Because most people who are gluten intolerant are also lactose intolerant, this simple, noninvasive saliva test should also assess your level of sensitivity to the protein in cow's milk. Based on the results of this test, your health care provider will assist you in choosing appropriate foods and nutritional measures.

Take action and live better, longer

Once you discover that you are gluten intolerant, the best thing you can do is eliminate all foods that contain gluten. Any other choice could leave you facing a troubled future filled with serious health problems and preventable suffering. Which choice would you make? Get tested soon to find out if the foods you eat are silently destroying your health.